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tants, but in some places you find neither: such parts display nothing to the eye but a dreary waste, with here and there a stunted pine tree, stript of its foilage by some dreadful convulsion, where the little bird of winter sits and chimes his solitary notes, and sometimes perches on the holly, which is abundant. You often de- . scend into deep vallies, shaded to fearful darkness with lotty spruce and laurel. One of them is very justly called " the shades of death”- thought it might aptly be applied to more than one. Through these deep recesses, streams of the purest water roll in headlong torrent.
The whole of this mountain, however, looks like winter although it is now the last of August; we were quite chilly, at least, I was. Mr. D. informed that the
, cold is so intense on this ever-reigning winter mountain, as to freeze people who have the hardihood to attempt crossing it in the winter season. He related two instances within his own knowledge. “A Mr. Mayers, a lawyer, travelling from Kenhawa to Lewisburg, in Greenbriar, became so benumbed with cold, that he was unable to speak, or guide bis borse, which turned of his own accord to a house, were he was taken from the horse and restored by proper applications." The other instance wa-, of a man who was returning to Kenbawa (where he lived) to Richmond, in the winter, and in crossing this mountain he had both his ears bitten off by the frost : when he arrived at home he had the circumstance recorded in court, lest some doubts might at a future day be suggested. This did not, however, screen him from the sarcasm of a lady, who told him that “the Almighty did that which the laws ought to have done long before.” This happened some years ago.
At length, from the summit of a frightful chasm, formed by the passage of New river through this mountain, you behold that foaming river rolling far beneath your feet, while with shivering fear and dizzy head, you wind your way down to it. This is the second instance I have witnessed of this daring river forcing its way through mountains. Some huge rocks, I see, however, have set it at defiance, over which it rushes with mad
dening fury, sending forth a noise which echoes from cleft to cleft. I should like to see a boat stem that torrent!! After much riding and walking in zigzag, angles and semi-angles, we reached the river, which we crossed in a boat, with great ease and safety, it having assumed a smooth and slow current. By the same zigzag which brought us to the river we ascend the mountain on the opposite side, nor are you completely off of it until you reach Kenhawa river, which is nothing more than the river just mentioned, but does not assume that name till after receiving Gauley, a small river which discharges itself into New river, about six miles above the falls, twenty-eight miles from where we crossed New river, and about seventy-eight from Lewisburgh, the county seat of Greenbriar county. Within four miles of the falls, where our road strikes Kenba wa river, we cross a part of the mountain named Cotton Hill, which may aptly be compared to Spencer's Hill, on Cumberland mountain. After passing Cotton Hill, the scenery becomes beautiful and picturesque beyond description. For the distance of two miles you pursue a small stream, which increases as it goes, and brings you to Kenbawa : but the scenery in this distance compensates you for the fatigue underwent in reaching it. This stream runs between two moderate hills, which are clothed with flowers of a thousand different hues; meanwhile it swells as you advance, forming innumerable grotesque appearances. Sometimes it runs with nimble speed over a smooth solid rock of about twenty paces, which looks as it were planed by man, on which not the smallest pebble appears. In a moment you see it interlucent, some of the wildest rocks in nature : anon it dows gently over a dam that seems to defy the ingenuity of
man, both in symmetry and design. Presently it precipitates itself from a vast height, in one entire sheet: again it buries itself, and you think you have seen it for the last time, when you behold it curling ahead, in Ho. garth's line of beauty. Thus, after amusing the traveller with ten thousand gambols, it leaves him at the falls of the great Kenhawa river, the grandeur of which absorbs, for the moment, every earthly thought.
This famous river, after surmounting a variety of obstacles, this amazing rock over which it tumbles, being the last, flows in smooth and silent pride. The fall is over one entire rock, about fifteen feet perpendicular. Below the falls, it is deep, and from two hundred and fifty to three hundred yards wide. This majestic river flows between two mountains of moderate elevation, which are perfectly barren, and almost perpendicular. The bottom land, at first narrow,(I mean at the falls,) widens towards the mouth of the river, to the distance of two miles, and as rich as any in the world, producing from: seventy to one hundred bushels of maize to the acre. I am told, that, to the depth of eight and from that to twelve feet deep, little difference exists in the nature and color of the soil. The produce is butter principally. 9 Few springs are found on Kenhawa river; and those that are found are said not to be wholesome; the people therefore, drink river water generally. This is very pleasant, if taken out of the river in the evening, and left in the open air during the night, it becomes very cold ; and if sat in a shade or in a cellar, it is very pleasant drink the whole of the succeeding day. I did not, however stomach, it so well below the salt-works, particularly as I saw several carcases of dead horses float. ing on the surface of the stream. While I was viewing these one day, I asked some black women who were washing clothes on the bank, how they could relish the water in which these putrefied bodies were floating. “Oh," said they,“ da purifies de vater, and makes it sweet."
Kenhawa County --With a degree of high-wrought enthusiasm, I hastened on, regardless of every object beside, to the salt-works, and the celebrated burning spring, which are on the bank of Kenhawa river, about twenty-eight miles below the falls. This burning spring is no spring at all-how it came to assume the name is strange; and instead of one there is seven, which are no.
; thing more than this. “ The surface of the earth is worn away by some means, (probably by setting it on fire so often as is done,) into a hollow, not a foot in depth;
this cavity receives the rain water, which is kept from sinking by the air that blows violently through a number of small apertures in these cavities." The holes through which the air issues are round, and about the size of one's little finger ; they looked precisely as though they were bored with a spike gimlet. I saw but two of those springs as they are called :* one had water in it, the other was dry. We heard the bubbling of the water ere we saw the spring, which being agitated by the wind from beneath, keeps it in continual motion, resembling water when boiling very fast. The noise is like that produced by blowing through a tube with one end in water. This water was evidently no other than rain water, which probably fell the preceding day; it was very turbid indeed, occasioned, no doubt, from its violent agitation, and to this, perhaps, may be ascribed, the wearing away of the earth. From this spring no stream arises, nor any vestige to show that ever one flowed from either of those which I saw. From the one that contained no water I could discern, very plain, the air issuing through those apertures already mentioned, which were as numerous as the holse in a riddle, and from both issued the most nauseous smell in nature, something like the wipings of a foul gun,
but much more insupportable. These places were discovered by boatmen, who were seeking for wood to kindle a fire after night, with a torch in their hands, and happening to carry the torch near one of them, communicated a flame to it; it happened to have water in it at the time, and hence I suspect took the name of the Burning Spring. There is no difference in the burning of the air, (for it is the air that burns,) with respect to their being with or without water; the flame is equally strong in both cases, and when set on fire will burn for months if not extinguished by rain. The flame is usually about two feet in height. Boatmen frequently boil their meat over these springs by setting them on fire, and hanging the pot over them. I would not be surprised if an explosion should take place in the neighborhood of these springs some day, particularly if the air should by any means become heated or confined. No opinion has been expressed respecting this phenomenon, or any pains taken to ascertain the nature or cause of its exis
* The others were not far off, but iny curiosity was satisfied.
Salt-works.The salt-works in this county are another natural curiosity ; they abound on both sides of the river, for the distance of twelve miles. This is another evidence of the providential care of the Deity. Here is a spot, that were it not for this article of commerce, and the facility with which it can be sent to market, would be destitute of almost every comfort and convenience of life. Immense quantities of salt are made here annually; upon an average about one million of bushels, which employ one thousand hands. This salt is sent down Kenhawa river in boats to every part of the western country, and exchanged for articles of consumption. It appears, however, notwithstanding this great bounty of nature, that very few of the proprietors have realized any solid advantage from it; owing, per. haps, to want of capital in the commencement, want of skill, or want of commercial integrity, or perhaps to all three.
The salt water is obtained from the bottom of the riv. er by means of a gum,* which is from eighteen to twenly feet in length, and from four to five feet wide ; these gums are from the sycamore tree. They are prepared by making a crow at one end, and a head to fit it tight. This being done, about twenty hands repair to the place where it is to be sunk, which is at the edge of low water, on the river; not any where, for the salt water is only found within certain limits. But to return, all hands proceed with provisions, and plenty to drink, to the place. The gum is first placed in the water on one end, (the one with the crow,) a man is then let down into it by a windlass, and digs round the edge with an instrument suited to the purpose ; when he fills a bucket with the sand, gravel, or earth, which he meets in succession 1; the bucket is immediately drawn up, emptied, and let
*An American term for a hollow trce, after it is taken from the forest;